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S-76A 1st flight...

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S-76A 1st flight...

Old 13th Mar 2019, 22:20
  #1 (permalink)  
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S-76A 1st flight...

42 years ago today. And guess who was flying it....
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Old 13th Mar 2019, 23:17
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Unfortunately, the picture in the article was not taken for the first flight of the 76A, but rather, some months later when we were honored by a visit from His Majesty King Hussein of Jordan. Actually we flew all the three prototypes that day. I recall the schedule was tight on the last ship ( the one I took ) and while flyable it didn’t have SAS and a number of other things. Did have two C-30’s.

Last edited by JohnDixson; 13th Mar 2019 at 23:19. Reason: added info,typo
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Old 14th Mar 2019, 00:15
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Later on....while working for American Airlines Training Corporation doing Flight and Simulator Training for Sikorsky on the S-76.....I was sent to Amman, Jordan to do a Conversion Course for two Iraqi Air Force Pilots under the sponsorship of the Jordanian Air Force and had the privilege of meeting King Hussein.

I very much enjoyed my time there and got to see an interesting part of the World.

Sitting in the Holiday Inn looking at bullet holes in the walls that were left over from a PLO attack made the conversation a bit interesting.
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Old 14th Mar 2019, 03:09
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To me its still the best looking helicopter flying. Love the S76...hence my name here.
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Old 14th Mar 2019, 09:19
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I agree that they’re the best looking helicopter. I loved flying them on SAR but they were a little underpowered for that kind of work.
Well done John Dixson!
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Old 14th Mar 2019, 10:17
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Flying the grunty S-76 B was the most fun I have had in 45 years of aviation. Smooth, fast, and in VIP config, roomy.
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Old 14th Mar 2019, 11:05
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In the article it states that the S-76 was the front runner for the USCG Short Range SAR helicopter, but then Sikorsky pulled out for a 'business decision'. What was the reason?
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Old 15th Mar 2019, 00:25
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JD will provide the definitive answer, but my recollection is as follows. I don't believe the reason that circulated in the company at that time, but I'll provide it anyway!

It was said that SAC abandoned the competition because, ironically, they were afraid they would win, and not be able to meet the USCG desired delivery schedule. Remember, at that time the actual and projected civil production rates were quite high, and the production capacity was saturated. From memory, not long after that, the civil rates dropped precipitously, and the work would have been well appreciated.

Probably not much more than rumor, with suspect veracity, but a good story nevertheless!
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Old 15th Mar 2019, 17:43
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In 1994 I was asked to go to Jordan to have a look at the last 76s they had for sale, they looked a bit sorry by this time, but delving beneath the surface, it looked like they were free from corrosion and worth restoring.
I advised the directors that the aircraft were worth saving, and they were purchased together with all the spares.
We airfreighted them back to Redhill courtesy of the RJAF C130s and converted them to Arriels, subsequently 3 went to Australia, 1 to Aberdeen, and one to Italy.
I believe Two are still flying in the states.
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Old 15th Mar 2019, 19:12
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That was a before picture, here is an after.
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Old 15th Mar 2019, 20:11
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DS and rrekn,

The Sikorsky Archives statement re the reasons we dropped out of the competition ( which we thought we had won unofficially ) are the same ones I heard internally at the time, to wit 1) Not wanting to grant to the US Gov’t the data rights to the design; 2) Concern re the financial liability attached to a fixed price avionics suite package. Not mentioned in the archives, but heard in the halls, was that there was concern re the production line capability. Can’t comment on that as I never heard any serious discussion along those lines.

As to the first, the US Army had already demonstrated doing that with a separate R&D contract on the CH-54, wherein an automated single point load stabilization flight control system ( a sophisticated take-off on the SH-3 sonar cable angle hover system ) which was paid for with Army funds, was given to Boeing and showed up in the Boeing HLH proposal some years later. Thus it was going to happen anyway and further, the technology in the 76 rotor, flight controls and drive train were very influenced by the UH-60 design,none of it was classified etc etc.
The second point was well taken, but a solution existed in controlling the precise wording used in the contract ( a solution we did not exercise in two future, non-S-76 foreign sales, BTW ).

Last edited by JohnDixson; 15th Mar 2019 at 20:16. Reason: Privacy
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Old 18th Mar 2019, 00:40
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I purchased and flew Sikorsky S-76A serial number 12 around the world. That particular flight was from East to West.

I found it a magnificent machine and ended up selling it to the St John’s Ambulance EMS service in New Zealand, and I understand it is still operating there.

I was once told that serial number 12 was actually flown by King Hussein of Jordan himself. Does anyone know if there is any factual basis to this?

If anyone is interested, there is a scan of the book I published on this trip. The book is called “Above the World” and here is a link: Above the World by Dick & Pip Smith 1996

I have also put my documentaries of my solo helicopter flight around the world on this website http://dicksmithadventure.com.au/ as well, under “Documentaries & Films”, “Adventure documentaries”, then “Solo Around the World by Helicopter Stage one”, “Solo Around the World by Helicopter Stage two”, "Solo Around the World by Helicopter Stage 3 1982/3" and “Solo Around the World BBC edit 1982-83”.

I have often said to people I owe my life to the incredible reliability of North American technology and manufacture.
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Old 18th Mar 2019, 00:47
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Dick, Nick Lappos went to Jordan and with his excellent memory would know the answer.
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Old 18th Mar 2019, 06:11
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I have fond memories of this aircraft.

Great airframe - lousy engines.
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Old 19th Mar 2019, 19:37
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I think its perfectly possible that King Hussein would have flown the S76. not sure if it would have been number 12 though. When I was there looking at the last five for sale, the engineering officers told me that if he had a particular problem to sort out, he would take a C130, with a crew, and just fly around the desert to collect his thoughts.
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